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The streak of standout Minnesota high school football players making names for themselves playing FCS football in the Dakotas doesn’t stop with North Dakota State’s Trey Lance being drafted No. 3 overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Draft and teammate Dillon Radunz of Becker going to Tennessee in the second round.

On Sunday, the FCS quarterfinals have North Dakota State (7-2) vs. Sam Houston State (7-0) on ESPN (2 p.m.), North Dakota (5-1) vs. James Madison (6-0) on ESPN2 (5 p.m.) and South Dakota State (6-1) vs. Southern Illinois (6-3) on ESPN2 (8 p.m.). All three teams from the Dakotas feature a heavy dose of Minnesota talent.

The Bison are the national power in the Football Championship Subdivision, having won eight of the last nine titles, including the last three. NDSU hasn’t been its typical dominant self this season, which included an October game against Central Arkansas that was Lance’s final appearance with the team.

One of those defeats was against South Dakota State by a 27-17 score two weeks ago. The Bison also lost to Southern Illinois.

Here’s a look at the Minnesota connections of the three border teams:

North Dakota

Minnesotans on the roster: 29

Players to watch

Few running backs in FCS were better this season than Otis Weah of Moorhead. He was named First Team All-MVFC after averaging 7.1 yards per carry and 105.7 yards per game over eight contests with eight touchdowns. Weah had 13 carries for 64 yards and a score in North Dakota’s 44-10 win over Missouri Valley State in the first round of the playoffs.

Another Minnesota product, receiver Garett Maag of St. Croix Lutheran, led the Fighting Hawks with 19 receptions for 436 yards and two touchdowns. In that first round game against Missouri Valley State, he caught three passes for 63 yards and a score.

North Dakota State

Minnesotans on the roster: 27

Players to watch

Junior linebacker James Kaczor from St. Cloud Tech led the Bison in tackles after transitioning from safety to linebacker during his sophomore season in 2019. Kaczor posted 70 tackles, including two for loss, while also breaking up two passes to go along with three quarterback hits. He was named First Team All-MVFC.

Tight end Noah Gindorff of Crosby-Ironton is a goal line monster. In North Dakota State’s 42-20 win over Eastern Washington in the first round of the FCS playoffs, Gindorff had two receptions for five yards and two scores.

South Dakota State

Minnesotans on the roster: 17

Players to watch

Keep your eyes on the defensive backfield where Michael Griffin, who played at Park of Cottage Grove and Southwest Minnesota State before transferring to SDSU, tallied 29 tackles, one interception and three pass deflections on the season at strong safety.

At the right cornerback is Malik Lofton, a junior out of Hopkins. Lofton also had an interception this season to go along with 12 tackles and two pass deflections.

Those two helped hold Holy Cross to just 86 passing yards in a 31-3 win in the first round of the playoffs.

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